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I'll concur with that. In my fundamentalist Christian high school, a teacher read an essay to us during chapel that disparaged science. The main thrust of the essay was that science was always changing. I clearly remember one line: "A ten-year old science textbook is nine years out of date." Of course, no points to anyone who can guess what unchanging book we should focus on instead.

To a fundamentalist science-hater, "change" is never "improvement," since the body of knowledge that is changing is ipso facto a cheap imitation of the already-perfect truth. Scientists can "change" their minds about something all they want, but they'll never measure up to the unchanging perfect gospel. And if that gospel declares that God made man from mud, then no "remarkable new findings about the origins of humans" is going to make a whit of difference to the True Believer.


I don't think it's just that some science contradicts the Bible. I get the distinct impression that science is viewed as a threat because it is a competing method of knowing things in general.

I've heard numerous sermons -- some on the radio, some live -- where the theme appeared to be "Everything in life is garbage unless you have Jesus." Often repeated in this flavor of sermon are verses such as Isaiah 55:8-9:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Human knowledge is garbage. So says the LORD. Your only option is to look to the church for answers. If someone purports to say something that does not match what the church says, don't listen to them, for their ways are not His ways.

Then along came science.

Science proposes a systematic, reliable, testable method for gaining more knowledge over time. It is not based on the Bible. It is not inherently hostile to religion; it just disregards religion completely in the pursuit of understanding the world.

That's not something the church can accept. It undermines authority-based teaching, and it removes the feeling of helplessness that Isaiah's words are meant to invoke.

So as a result, a large body of work has grown around the effort to frame science as simply a competing worldview, devoid of merit in its own right. It's not just fundamentalists who do this; post-modernist writers also get off on the idea that there is no such thing as reality. In their works, they reduce science to one of many "belief systems," neither better nor worse than any other way of understanding.

To paraphrase George Carlin: "Same as God. Same as the four leaf clover, the horse shoe, the rabbit's foot, and the wishing well. Same as the mojo man. Same as the voodoo lady who tells your fortune by squeezing the goat's testicles. It's all the same." (Carlin, of course, was not talking about science, but about offering prayers to Joe Pesci.)

Science is a threat to religious beliefs not only because it sometimes contradicts them, but because it offers a way to be correct without assuming magic powers.
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